Love Teaching & Love A Teaching Epiphany

Stanley teaching in Lisbon, Portugal during the first Storytellers Abroad Missions Multimedia Workshop with ABWE. [photo by: Jeff Raymond]

The learning-by-teaching effect has been demonstrated in many studies. Students who spend time teaching what they’ve learned go on to show better understanding and knowledge retention than students who simply spend the same time re-studying.

Teaching helps in bringing to mind what we’ve previously studied leads to deeper and longer-lasting acquisition of that information than more time spent passively re-studying.

Researchers say that the benefits of the learning-by-teaching strategy are attributable to retrieval practice; that is, the robust learning-by-teaching strategy works but only when the teaching involves retrieving the taught materials. You need to internalize the to-be-presented material prior to communicating it to an audience, rather than rely on study notes during the presentation process.

In past blog posts I have talked about the stages of learning. I think using this illustration of the stages would put teaching even above the evaluation step.

Good Teachers Know Their Students

In an interview Duke Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski talked about the importance of really knowing his players.

Mike Krzyzewski [NIKON D4, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 7200, 1/500, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 122)]

Coach K: If an athlete knows you believe in him or her, then that when that kid goes through dark moments, he or she will know they are not alone. We all have those moments and it is important to know that others are with you. Our guys know that they are never alone because we develop relationships and let them know we believe in them. “I believe in you.” You can say that with just those words or you can say it in a huddle when you tell a guy, “We are going with you on this next play.” He might say, “I just missed one.” Then I might say, “This next shot is my shot or our shot. Maybe one of the reasons you are missing is because you are taking your shots. You are taking our shot this time and don’t worry about it. I’m not worried about it.” You put that belief in their minds so they don’t fear losing.

Great teachers know that there is not a perfect way to teach a subject to everyone, but there is a better way to teach each individual student.

Hula Dancer at sunset in Hawaiian [photo by Dorie Griggs] [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/2500, ƒ/4, (35mm = 24)]

I love to first show students how I would shoot something like I am doing here in Hawaii.

Brooke Valle Anderson, Hula Dancer, in Kona, Hawaii [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/60, ƒ/4, (35mm = 24)]

I quickly have them getting hands on experience working with the lights in the studio and learning how: to turn the lights on; make them sync with the camera; and then to create different lighting schemes.

Students in the Lighting Workshop I teach in Kona, Hawaii working on their assignment of a 1:3 Lighting Ratio. [NIKON D5, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4000, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

However the best learning is happening when I leave the students alone in the studio working on their assignments. They often work in teams. They need a model and the photographer and often use each other which creates the perfect setup for them to end up teaching each other what they learned earlier. Someone doesn’t get a concept and asks their fellow student.

Patrick Murphy-Racey, Sony Artisan Associate, takes a moment to talk with Lily Wang at workshop about the Sony mirrorless camera system. [Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 6400, ƒ/5, 1/250]

The first few times teaching to someone you explain the process the way you understand it. As you experience your communication didn’t get through to the person, if you are smart, you will realize you were the problem and not the person. As my coach would say about a pass in basketball, it is usually the passers fault if the pass is missed.

Patrick Murphy-Racey is keynote speaker talking about the new Sony Mirrorless cameras at a CIP Meeting at Roswell Presbyterian Church in Roswell, GA. [X-E2, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 6400, 1/160, ƒ/4, (35mm = 27)]

I love going to listen to other professionals in my field lead workshops and teach seminars. At this point in my career I am more interested in how they teach a subject rather than the subject itself. I already know how to do lighting and may pick up a tip or two, but really am learning more about how someone else teaches the subject.

Epiphany Moment with

File Storage vs Catalog

I have been working on creating photography databases for more than 25 years. I am having to give presentations all the time and just recently while I was still struggling with a better way to explain how to embed photos with text to make them searchable I had an epiphany. I realized there was an example I could use from our experiences that could help people visualize what is happening inside a computer catalog.

Campus Scenics [NIKON D3, 24.0-120.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 6400, 1/100, ƒ/8, (35mm = 45)]

I thought of how we were taught to use a library. Now when you walk into a library that is very similar to how you store your photos. You put them in folders and sometimes even subfolders. Then these folders of images are put on hard drives.

Columbia Theological Seminary [NIKON D3, 24.0-120.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 6400, 1/50, ƒ/8, (35mm = 24)]

Each photo is like a book on the shelf. If you are familiar with the library you can go to the science section or fiction or whatever you are interested in. The problem is when you don’t know where something would be in the library.

The Card Catalog Is Officially Dead | Smart News | Smithsonian Magazine

You could go to the card catalog in the library and look up a book by: 1) Author, 2) Title or 3) Subject and find books.

Most people store their images just like we put books on the shelves. The problem is if you don’t know where something is located you need a catalog system.

Today with digital you can find any photograph “IF” you have put text into the metadata. If you have a book on the shelf with no pages and just a cover photo and no text that is what you have in your files today without the text. If you just put a title on that book you can find that book or photo with just the title.

But today you can actually search a book’s text if you have it and the same way with a photo. You have unlimited text space to bury inside a photo’s metadata.

This metaphor works great with those who were taught the library catalog system. They can now visualize that the catalog is separate from the books on the shelf.

So having all your photos on your computer doesn’t make them searchable. You not only need to put text into them, but ideally you need a catalog software system to not just search but narrow those searches by helping you filter a result. Find all the sunset photos. Then you may narrow that to all the Summer time photos. Then you could narrow it to those just from 1960s.

This analogy really helped with my latest client.

“Thank you for your time today! It was extremely beneficial and you did such a great job explaining everything.”

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